Day 6 – Unemployment Benefits

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I wrote a ‘Thank You’ note to an agency for their time today, and began it with a friendly opening. I said something to the effect of, it’s almost the weekend, but everyday is weekend day when you’re unemployed. This got me thinking…

Unemployment. Just the word brings different feelings to different people. Ex-President Ronald Reagan once said, “Unemployment is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders.” I’m not gonna argue with Mr. Reagan, but I will politely say, define freeloader.

I don’t feel like a freeloader. For one thing, I haven’t received anything for “free.” I am still receiving my actual paycheck from the ad agency where I provided compelling headlines and gave up ideas like geo-targeting direct mail consumers (side note: I apologize to the readers who hate direct mail, just doing my job).

However, I did file a claim for unemployment today. Which means on January 22, I could collect that “free” payout. I’ll let you know on 1/22, but I still don’t think I will feel like a freeloader. While being paid via company, I worked my ass off. And as a resident of New York City, I paid for it. According to Mint.com (this is not a paid advertisement, but Mint.com is the shit), I gave up over $25,000 of my salary to taxes this year. 25?! That’s a Volkswagen—a nice one! And because I did that, I have earned the measly income this country allows while in-between jobs. It would also take me over 60 weeks to recoup that money, and I don’t think I will be collecting for that long (what’s the average time it takes to get a job these days?).

But I digress; Everyday does feel like a weekend day to me. I run errands while you run to meetings. I apply for jobs while you make mental notes to apply for that job you saw when you get home. I can work around other people’s busy schedules and, to be honest, it’s relieving. But, I’m still working.

I’m writing for one thing. This blog has given me a sense of purpose and the response has been amazing and surprising. People have in return shared with me their layoff and moving stories, they’ve given me suggestions and feedback, and for this I am grateful. I have had a couple people request more pictures—of my life as well as the people I am talking about. It’s in the works.

This has all been possible because I don’t have a job. The energy, imagination and desire to want to put myself out there has all been because as confident as I am that it will all be OK, I’m vulnerable at the same time. It’s new for me. NYC makes people hard, guarded and tough. It’s exhausting. For me, the benefits of unemployment don’t come in monetary form. They come in the comfort of knowing that opportunity is ahead; as long as I’m open to new things, new places, new experiences, I will benefit from this little severance project.

Speaking of all things new, I learned that I could apply for a Work/Holiday Visa in Australia for the low-low price of $420. This offer is only valid until I am 31—yes, apparently Australian’s are ageists. Does this mean the plane drops down in Sydney and I am just welcomed by a swarm of 18-31 year olds? Because I’d totally be down for that. But $420 just to apply? That’s quite the commitment.

What do you think? Is it worth trying my hand at a 1-year move to the land down under? Have you ever been? Let me know.

 

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18 thoughts on “Day 6 – Unemployment Benefits

  1. Ryan

    Bean, you’re on a self-admitted paid vacation. AND you’re still going to get your FULL paycheck AND unemployment as of Jan 22, right? This is a no-brainer. Save the unemployment and use it to apply for a Visa…..

    1. jennyfitz21

      Ryan, thank you for your comment. I’m not sure what I will end up doing, and my goal isn’t to stay on unemployment benefits- so we will see. Keep reading and thanks for the support!

    1. jennyfitz21

      Hi, Kevin. I’m glad you’re tuning in. I’m definitely willing to take the big leap, then come live with you if I run out of money. Sound good?

  2. Nicole

    If you think NYC turns people hard, guarded and tough… then Australia is totally the place for you. I’ve been twice and found that everyone is so laid back and so welcoming. Corporate executives wear business suits accessorized with pink hair and nose rings and everything shuts down for lunch in the afternoon between 12 and 2. People take the time to appreciate that there is a life that exists outside the cubicle environment and they work to live instead of living to work. Might provide some valuable insight for your blog posts as you prepare to enter, and navigate, your newly carved reality.

    1. jennyfitz21

      Hi Nicole, long time! Thank you for reading and for the insight. I’ve never been that far from home, but it sounds like it’s EXACTLY what I am looking for. It’s such a big chance to take with no safety net, but it sounds like if i gave it a chance I’d figure it out once I was there. Again, thanks for checking it and take care!

  3. John Cole

    However, I did file a claim for unemployment today. Which means on January 22, I could collect that “free” payout. I’ll let you know on 1/22, but I still don’t think I will feel like a freeloader. While being paid via company, I worked my ass off. And as a resident of New York City, I paid for it. According to Mint.com (this is not a paid advertisement, but Mint.com is the shit), I gave up over $25,000 of my salary to taxes this year. 25?! That’s a Volkswagen—a nice one! And because I did that, I have earned the measly income this country allows while in-between jobs. It would also take me over 60 weeks to recoup that money, and I don’t think I will be collecting for that long (what’s the average time it takes to get a job these days?).

    I think you are looking at this the wrong way. Obviously you are not a freeloader, but the 25k you paid in taxes (even though there are some really stupid ones in NYC) isn’t a penalty, it’s your payment to buy into the social contract. For that 25k, you get roads, cops, firemen, first responders, clean sanitation, safe electricity and power, food inspection, the court system, national defense, public education- you went to WVU which, even though you paid out of state tuition and the state has been contributing less and less over the years, it still exists because of the tax dollars of WV citizens, federal money, and it wouldn’t even exist had it not been for a federal land grant.

    It seems like a lot of money, but guess what- you get all those things even when you pay zero in taxes, as you are finding out. Not only that, you are entitled to unemployment. Not because you are a freeloader, but because you are an American who bought into the social contract. Paying taxes feels like a penalty, but really, it gives you admission into the most privileged club in the world. People are literally dying to become members every single day.

      1. jennyfitz21

        Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite though. I can get very negative when I see people abusing the system. I don’t think I’m that person, but you can see my point. Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoy the blog and continue to follow me.

    1. jennyfitz21

      John, you make extremely valid points. I understand that I’m paying for more than unemployment. I actually bitch quite often that I pay for the NYC school system, yet have no children. Unfortunately, we can’t ONLY pay for what we use. It’s just hard to stomach paying federal, state AND city taxes, especially (without revealing my salary) when my salary isn’t inflated at all. One thing I’ve learned is that in NYC there is a difference between a “life” and a “lifestyle.” I’m not showy, I don’t need the lifestyle, I’m just looking for a better life.

  4. DaveInOz

    I followed the link from John Cole’s website and have enjoyed the journey so far.

    I made the move to Australia from the UK 16 years ago and it was the best thing I ever did. It’s a great place to live and the lifestyle is wonderful. I live in Melbourne and, current bushfires apart, it’s a great place to live – regularly voted world’s most livable city by the Economist. The economic situation isn’t too bad here though unfortunately we just voted in a bit of a dick as Prime Minister! Finding a job should be possible. have a look at seek.com.au and see what’s around. Melbourne and Sydney are the main job markets but Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth are worth a look too.

    1. jennyfitz21

      Thank you so much for pointing me to that website. I am very serious about moving and knowing the job and economic situation is obviously important. I haven’t followed politics there, or here for that matter (I know, I know, I should), but it’s good to know maybe I should check that out. I hope you keep reading, enjoying and commenting. I can use any help I can get!

  5. I’m here ar the recommendation of John Cole. (Hi, John!) I like your writing. You should go to Australia. When will you ever get another chance, and what do you have to lose?

    I was a little younger than you when I left NYC for an invitation to the Pacific Northwest, where I knew exactly one person. but it was the best decision I ever made. And that’s even with the fact that I only stayed with that person for about 8 months!

    1. jennyfitz21

      Hello, and thank you for your comment. You’re right, I won’t get the chance again. Age-wise or because one day maybe I will “settle down.” Thanks for the encouragement and example of how it worked in your own life. I hope you continue to read the blog and supply feedback!

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